Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Rosie Project

Published in January 2013 this first novel by Graeme Simsion continues to be one of the most popular titles in the library. Because of the long waiting list I decided that I had better read it immediately rather than leave it to the end of the loan period, but once I started reading I  just kept reading until the book was finished. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Don Tillman, aged 39, is an an Associate Professor of Genetics at a Melbourne University. It immediately becomes obvious to the reader that Don has problems communicating with people, has difficulty observing and relating to the feelings of others, lives in an extremely ordered world and becomes disturbed if his time-table is not adhered to. When I started reading the book Don's mannerisms reminded me of those of Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory. He possibly has Asperger syndrome, thought this is not stated. He is aware that he is different and has developed defence mechanisms, including the ability to laugh when he realises that he has acted inappropriately, however when he gives a talk to families with children with Aspergers he does not realise that he may exhibit the same symptoms.

When Don decides he wants a wife, although he has never managed to get beyond the first date, he decides to become proactive and develops The Wife Project by creating a sixteen page multiple choice questionnaire to filter possible candidates for marriage and attending a speed dancing session. Meanwhile he meets Rosie who wants to discover who her real father is and a new project, The Father Project comes into being. Through involvement in these two projects Don learns some skills in interacting with others and although Rosie does not meet any of the criteria in the questionnaire and is therefore not suitable wife material Don finds that he enjoys her company, causing another dilemma in his life.

The book is an enjoyable romantic comedy, but it is more than that as it investigates the need people feel to conform to 'social norms' as well as the need to find one's true identity.

Some interesting reviews about The Rosie Project can be found can be found on the Good Reads website, particularly the reviews by ALPHAreader and Steve Lovell in March.

Text Publishing website contains additional information including Notes for Book Groups.

The Rosie Project is the book of the month for June on Read with Raf on 774. It also featured on the April edition of The Book Club on ABC 1.

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